March 2003 Archives

Sen to Chihiro no kamikakushi

Jessica reminds me that Spirited Away has, thanks to its somewhat unexpected but entirely deserved Oscar, returned to the theaters and is playing widely.

So if you missed it the first time around, I'd suggest that you catch it this time. It's really worth seeing on a large screen.

And one of these days I'm going to get around to writing about Stone Reader... (which, for my New York readers, will apparently be making a return to Manhattan in May, making this the rare movie that's had three different theatrical engagements in the city...)


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So I'm reading this Gawker piece when today's BlogFodder email dropped into my inbox with the subject "Editing":

"Only the hand that erases can write the true thing." - Meister Eckhart

Weird, huh?

Monkee Business


Gary Hart has a blog.

Yes, that Gary Hart. Regardless of your opinion of the man and the politician, the fact that a serious politician (and potential presidential candidate) validates the form in a way that few could.

Having said that, I'm sure that whatever makes it to the web will have been filtered through at least two levels of writers and/or consultants. And what content is already there is a bit on the guarded side. My friend Brian Lee suggests that we could call these blogs "e-blogs", for "edited blogs". I like that.

Mmm.... tasty.


Dean Allen over at Texism has posted a recipe for "Something Soup", which observant readers with good memories will recall somewhat resembles my favorite soup recipe.

There are a few significant differences: Dean's is really a template for generic vegetable soup, and mine is specifically a carrot & ginger concoction; he pays more attention to the little details; and, of course, we differ on when to add the cream (not to mention the little matter of chicken stock...).

Oh, and by the way, is there a stylebook consensus on how to format website names? Should they be in quotes ("Textism"), or italicized (Textism)? Or is another form preferred?



Does anyone out there besides me remember Pathfinder, TimeWarner's attempt to bring all their electronic properties under one roof (this was back in the day before it was AOLTimeWarner, or, as Jessica puts it, "the dumbest takeover in American corporate history").

Anyway, it's still alive, albeit in somewhat stripped down form, as a gateway to all the individual websites of Time Inc. All the usual suspects are there, and some of the unusual ones, too, but one really stuck out like a sore thumb to me:

The FBI will no longer have to check the accuracy and timeliness of data about people that gets entered into its main database.

In other words, should the FBI get a hot tip that I, Paul Frankenstein, am not the upright, law-abiding, patriotic citizen I appear to be but am actually a crack-smoking mass murderer who works as an agent in the service of the Grand Dutchy of Fenwick, they can go right ahead and put that in their database. Even though it's totally untrue.

As anyone who's ever had an incorrect entry (or more) on their credit history can attest, getting mistakes removed from large databases is really, really, really difficult. What if, because of a clerical error, innocent Harry Buttle is accidentally identified as known criminal Harry Tuttle?

I guess there's not much I can do, except perhaps hope that there are no dope-fiend serial killer foreign agents named Paulina Frankenstein...

Paris Toujours

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Via the fabulous Tony P., "the finest photo essay ever done by a sorority girl".

(does this count as a war post? I don't think so...)

Coming Soon

To a web browser near you:

Mimeograph, a new zine of arts & culture & shit like that.

(oh, and, by the way, we need writers, so if you're interested, drop me a line and I'll send you the (ever evolving) submission guidelines and maybe the beta-testing URL)

Gawker Gets the Guardian

(or is it the other way around?)

The Guardian profiles Gawker.

You go, girl.

Felix and...

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Nice to see Spirited Away win best animated feature.

Also nice to see Chris Cooper, a guy I've liked since Lone Star, pick up a statuette.

You know, Renee Zellweger really needs to do Bridget Jones 2 'cause she could really use a couple of extra pounds.

Boy, that song from Frida sure did suck.

Is anyone reading this? Leave notes in the comments.

The dead guy won for best cinemetography. Shades of the '00 Missouri Senate race.

Snooooooze. The U2 song wasn't bad, though the point of having an Irish band do a song about America escapes me. And what's up with Colin Farrell's eyebrows?

Interesting that they showed a clip from Patton in the Best Actor montage; if memory serves, George C. Scott didn't accept his award as a protest against the Vietnam war. update: it's actually even more interesting; Scott refused because "The (Academy Awards) ceremonies are a two-hour meat parade, a public display with contrived suspense for economic reasons," not as an anti-war protest. And, as a side note, they also showed a brief clip from The Godfather, a role for which Brando refused his Oscar... Thanks to KG for the correction.

Why isn't Dustin Hoffman reading off the teleprompter, like everyone else?

Eminem wins best song. Unsurprisingly, he didn't perform.

One wonders if it's the first time that the Best Song winner wasn't performed at the ceremony.

Seems to me that neither best actor(ess) winner had much in the way of a speech prepared.

Is this the first time that best screenplay has gone to a foreign-language script?

Roman Polanski: great director, Academy Award winner, and child rapist. The Pianist was a great film, though.

Nice to see the return of "and the winner is..."


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Welcome To The SoHo Grand has been posted over at the Mirror Project.

Though the more I look at it, the more I think that I should have submitted the landscape version.



You know the deal, click on the thumbnails and they'll open in a new window.


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"Of such intensity that the couple lost all fear of land or sky."

Now that's how you write a police report. Don'tcha think that it's far more euphonious than "The Peugot was a-rockin' and the police came a-knockin'"?

Message In A Bottle


So, having safely navigated my way home (the yellow taxi is your friend), I am left pondering the following question:

Does drinking too many manhattans make one melancholy, or is it just the nature of the author?

I think, however, that the minor premise -- that other alcoholic libations would produce different results -- is a more interesting, and perhaps, more fruitful, avenue of investigation.

I think that I'm going to need, uh, "research assistants" on this one.

We Don't Need No Steeekin' Titles

New Additions To The Vocabulary

Every war adds words to the national lexicon. World War II gave us "jeep" and "G.I." (not to mention "atomic" and "firebombing"). Korea gave us "human wave". Vietnam gave us "napalm", "VC" (that means "Viet Cong", not "Venture Capitalist", for anyone wondering), and "body count" (as well as a bunch of unprintable ethnic slurs).

What will this war bring? Ken Goldstein has taken a stab at it with his Suggested New Terms for the 2004 edition of the OED.

(Hey! This doesn't count as war blogging, cause it's a humor piece! So you, there in the peanut gallery! Knock it off!)

Eveeeevil Cackling

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Fortune Cookie of the Day


Hey, I don't know what it means.

Edwin Starr


So the war has started.

I'm going to try to avoid commenting on the war. As regular readers of this blog know (and those who know me personally know), I'm not a huge fan of the war. In fact, I think it's a terrible idea. However, as Bob Herbert says,

"we should get rid of one canard immediately, and that's the notion that criticism of the Bush administration and opposition to this invasion imply in some sense a lack of support or concern for the men and women who are under arms."
Anyone who believes or implies that my opposition to this war in anyway means a lack of support for the (brave, unlike the men who ordered this war) men and women of our military are more than welcome to meet me outside for some re-education.

So that's pretty much my piece on the war. And as I try to avoid commenting on the war, I will likewise attempt to avoid posting links to bellicose articles or posts (I know that it's the kind of promise that just begs to be broken, so I plead your forbearance in the event that I breach it). I figure that you guys can get enough of that elsewhere at all the usual suspects.

Having said that, here are some non-war-related links:

All Bow Down Before Dick Wolf


Coming soon to the Law & Order Channel: "Law & Order: Parking Violations Division"

Really, they write themselves

You, too, can smell like an NFL player.

Hm. One wonders if that would include Big Jim Slade, former tight end for the Kansas City Chiefs...

A Little Bit of Heart

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This article in the Times makes me want to get on an airplane back to Hong Kong.

It's too bad that he doesn't mention how much the dim sum in New York suffers in comparison.

On Narrative Non-Fiction

Alex, anticipating the third anniversary of his blog, suggests that what draws us to blogging is a need for narrative.

So does this mean that blogging isn't the replacement for journalism, but rather the new New Journalism?

Anglais sans Française

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From the Christian Science Monitor: English Sans French.

On Bars In The East Village

  1. Someone wants (or at least wanted) to break my kneecaps
  2. dogs have pubic hair (or so I am told by a reliable source: who knew?)

Clearly I need to get out more often.


My comments were recently spammed by something operating from the IP address of (and

Said comments have subsequently been deleted and that those IP addresses has been banned.

If this continues, then the next step is to modify my .htaccess file to simply refuse connections from the provider in question (who seems to be somwhere in Malaysia).

On Sports And Women

Over at, Stacey Pressman ponders what men really want: girls who really know their sports or girls who just tolerate them.

I just hope that her email box hasn't exploded yet.

(and incidentally, I have a theory about Erin Comella's dating woes...)

On Sin


I'm pretty sure that farting on a subway isn't a mortal sin, but it must rank pretty high on the list of venal sins, don't you think?

Particularly if it's rush hour...

Beware the Ides of March

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O! pardon me, thou bleeding piece of earth,
That I am meek and gentle with these butchers;
Thou art the ruins of the noblest man
That ever lived in the tide of times.
Woe to the hand that shed this costly blood;
Over thy wounds now do I prophesy,
Which like dumb mouths do ope their ruby lips,
To beg the voice and utterance of my tongue,
A curse shall light upon the limbs of men;
Domestic fury and fierce civil strife
Shall cumber all the parts of Italy;
Blood and destruction shall be so in use,
And dreadful objects so familiar,
That mothers shall but smile when they behold
Their infants quarter'd with the hands of war;
All pity chok'd with custom of fell deeds:
And Caesar's spirit, ranging for revenge,
With Ate by his side come hot from hell,
Shall in these confines with a monarch's voice
Cry "Havoc!" and let slip the dogs of war;
That this foul deed shall smell above the earth
With carrion men, groaning for burial.

Julius Caesar, Act III, Scene I

Quoth The Donk

The Weblog Review has a nice, short review of my site up.

My favorite part is this:

"Paul Frankenstein, the owner of the website, doesn't seem to have much to say with his own words."

To quote The Donkey: "I guess that Melly ain't never seen you after a few beers..."


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Over at Salon: Can Farscape fans reinvent TV?

It's really too bad that SciFi can't see past the end of their nose to realize what they have in 'Scape.

Well, that's corporate business as usual, I guess.

On Why The Record Industry Is Doomed

SecretWorldLive.jpgPeter Gabriel just re-released the DVD of his concert film, Secret World Live in a remastered widescreen edition. It's selling at Tower (follow the link) right now for $13.99.

Or, you could get Secret World Live on CD (which has, of course, no video) for $18.99.

Gee, what do you think's the better deal?

(Incidentally, the track listings for the DVD and CD are slightly different: the DVD has "San Jacinto" after "Blood of Eden"; the CD omits "San Jacinto" and inserts "Red Rain" in front of "Blood of Eden")

Munich Vice


Don Johnson was arrested in Germany with a suitcase stuffed with $8 billion (yes, you read that right, billion with a "b") in shares, bonds, and credit notes.

Holy cow.

He says that "he was going to buy a car."

Just for reference, $8 billion will buy you 10 squadrons' worth of F-15 Eagles (about 220 aircraft), eight stealth bombers, or two nuclear-powered aircraft carriers.

Must be one hell of a car.



Anyone out there a really huge Blur fan?

'Cause if you are, then this guy wants to hear from you.

Baby Names



That'd be a good name for a new 'zine, right?

(Well, better than falling out of frame, at least)

Can anyone think of a better one ('cause if you do, I might just have to send to a t-shirt or something)?

Funky Fresh Favicon


browsers.jpgSince I've had three different people ask me recently how I manged to get the little "pf" logo in to the location bar of their browser (see right for two examples of what I'm talking about if you don't see it), I thought that I'd share a bit.

What you're seeing is the favicon.ico file that lives in the root directory of The favicon.ico standard is something that the Evil EmpireMicrosoft dreamed up as an addition to IE 5.x for Windows: a way for websites to display customized site icons (incidentally, guess what comes up if you do a Google search on "evil empire"?). Of course, in true Microsoft fashion,

  1. they used a windows-only graphics format (the .ico format)
  2. limited it to a barely usable 16x16x16 colors, and
  3. the IE implementation doesn't work very well (it works better in other browers*)

But anyway...

It's surprisingly easy to make favicon.ico files. If you're using a Mac, all you need is a shareware graphics program and about 15 minutes following these instructions. Windows users should follow these instructions.

*For some reason, you have to bookmark the site in IE before it will display the icon. Other browers, like Safari or ChimeraCamino, pick it up automatically. Favicon.ico files are now supported by pretty much every modern browser: IE/Win, Mozilla, Opera, Netscape 7, and so on. Of course, the only brower with any kind of marketshare that doesn't support it is IE 5.x for the Mac...

Wolfeman Tom


TomWolfe.jpgYou know, Tom Wolfe really seems like he'd be a really interesting guy to have over for dinner.

On the origin of the legendary white suits: when young Mr. Wolfe first moved to New York City, he was working at the New York Herald-Tribune. This was during an era when reporters working for reputable daily newspapers were expected to wear a jacket and tie every day. Wolfe had two suits, and he wasn't going to be buying out Macy's on a junior reporter's salary. As summer approached, he purchased a white silk tweed suit -- something that he didn't think was entirely out of line, as he was born and raised in Richmond, VA, where men wore either seersucker suits or white linen during the summer. Unfortunately, the silk tweed was too hot to wear in the heat of the summer, so he reluctantly put it away until the fall. One day in November, he pulled it out of the closet, and the rest, as they say, is history. The fact that pretty much everyone hated it sealed the deal for young Tom.

For all his historical success as an intellectual revolutionary, Wolfe comes across, somewhat paradoxically, as a fairly conservative thinker. Not conservative in the political sense -- he is a self-described "Jeffersonian Democrat" -- but intellectually conservative. His one-man campaign to save American literature from itself (primarily by urging a return to Zola-esque naturalism: fiction that comes from reportage, a view that ironically has its roots in New Journalism, or the treatment of reportage in a literary fashion) has earned him Norman Mailer, John Updike, and John Irving as enemies. Agree with him or not, but he must be doing something right (it probably didn't hurt -- or help, depending on how you look at it -- that his second novel, A Man In Full, was a colossal success).

His mid-seventies broadside on the art establishment, The Painted Word, was somewhat less successful; his observation that the current exhibitions at the Guggenheim served as an indication of how (un)successful that book was immediately followed by a caustic aside about the motivations of artists who produce 'collector-proof' art.

He remains a tall, thin, gentleman in an impeccable white suit and necktie; from my seat in the auditorium, he looks far younger than his years. It looks like his only concession to age is that his hair has turned the same color as his suits.

I'm afraid that no-one had thought to ask him about Hunter S. Thompson or his opinion of the internet (this of a man who writes 10 pages a day (triple-spaced, so that works out to about 1,300 words) on a manual typewriter). Perhaps I'll ask him when he's over for dinner.


Peter Gabriel Plays LiveYou know, these kinda-not-really new Peter Gabriel remasters really do sound very very good.

Particularly if you play them real loud-like.




Popping what, that's another story entirely.

It's Snowing. Again.


You Can Kiss...

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Had to update because of a Top Sekret Project (no, not the Me.263)

In any event, I'd screwed up the upgrade to 2.6.2 anyway...

I Love TNT


5 hours of Law & Order on tonight.

Hm. I don't think I'm going to get much work done.


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A very interesting piece I found over at plasticbag: On the avoidance of harm...

It also sounds depressingly familar.

Pun intended.

If You Don't Already Have Plans Next Weekend

The NYT Arts & Leisure Weekend.

(as a friend of mine used to say, "are you done reading the Farts & Seizures section?")



Why is this man so happy?


Click the pic to find out.